How to Germinate Sweet Pepper Seeds


The University of Minnesota says peppers can be divided into two categories: those that are sweet-tasting and those that are spicy. Sweet peppers include pimiento and bell peppers and are the most popularly grown peppers in the United States, reports the University of Illinois. Instead of buying potentially expensive pepper seedlings in a nursery, germinate your own sweet pepper seeds at home.

Step 1

Prepare your gardening soil. Till it with a mechanical tiller or a spade to a depth of 6 inches. Mix in 1 to 2 inches of compost to boost the soil's concentration of organic matter. After adding compost, Ohio State University recommends fertilizing the area with a starter fertilizer with a 1-2-2 nutrient ratio--examples include an 8-16-16 or a 5-10-10 product--according to its labeled guidelines, as potency varies by product.

Step 2

Plant the sweet pepper seeds. Sow the seeds 1/4 inch deep, according to the University of Minnesota. If you're growing more than one pepper plant, separate each seed by 12 inches and each row by about 18 inches.

Step 3

Water the planting spot twice daily or as required to keep the top inch of garden soil moist. The sweet pepper seeds will typically germinate and appear within two weeks. After the seedlings are a couple inches tall, reduce watering to once a day and use enough irrigation to moisten the dirt to a depth of 4 to 6 inches.

Step 4

Thin the pepper seedlings once they're 3 to 4 inches tall. For the best growing environment, a spacing of 24 inches between seedlings is best, according to the University of Illinois.

Step 5

Pile 1 to 2 inches of mulch around the pepper seedlings. The plants have a very shallow root network and are especially susceptible to drought stress, which mulch can help prevent, according to the University of Missouri.

Things You'll Need

  • Tiller or spade
  • Compost
  • Starter fertilizer
  • Water
  • Mulch
  • Ruler


  • University of Minnesota: Peppers
  • Ohio State University: Growing Peppers in the Home Garden
  • University of Illinois: Peppers
  • University of Missouri: Growing Sweet Peppers
Keywords: germinate sweet peppers, sweet pepper seeds, grow pepper seeds

About this Author

Josh Duvauchelle is an editor and journalist with more than 10 years' experience. His work has appeared in various magazines, including "Honolulu Magazine," which has more paid subscribers than any other magazine in Hawaii. He graduated with honors from Trinity Western University, holding a Bachelor of Arts in professional communications, and earned a certificate in applied leadership and public affairs from the Laurentian Leadership Centre.